The Washington Redskins football team—among the most valuable sports franchises in the world—is facing intense pressure to change its name. There are few who dispute the fact that “redskin” is a derogatory term, and even the president weighed in
on the subject in the midst of a government shutdown.
A recent piece by Washington Post
columnist Dana Milbank on the issue has sparked curiosity, because a key passage is notably different in the print and online versions.
Here’s the paragraph in question from the online version
To see whether it’s right to use “Redskins” as a mascot, NFL owners gathering in Georgetown on Tuesday for their fall meeting should substitute some other common racial epithets and see how they would sound: The Washington Wetbacks? The Houston Hymies? The Chicago Chinks? Or perhaps the New York Niggers? That would be enough to send anybody to the shotgun formation.
The language in the print version, as The Huffington Post
points out, is far less incendiary:
To see whether it's right to use 'Redskins' as a mascot, NFL owners gathering in Georgetown on Tuesday for their fall meeting should substitute some other common racial epithets for Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Jews and see how they would sound. That would be enough to send anybody to the shotgun formation.
’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt explained the decision in an email to HuffPo
"I was the decision maker on the online version, and felt that use of these words, which we ordinarily would not allow, was justified in this context. The editor overseeing the print version made a different call, which I certainly understand."
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among the media outlets—including the Washington City Paper
and The New Republic
—that simply opt not to use the team name in their stories.